On July 25, the Rockland District Nursing Association (RDNA) Board, garden committee and friends planted the first 70 trees and bushes, the anchor, of the Eliza Steele Memorial Garden at MacDougal Park.

The cornerstone legacy maple is in memory of Eliza Steele, RDNA’s founding nurse. This majestic tree honors her story and the nurses who today carry on Eliza Steele’s enduring community nursing legacy.

Board President Anna Ware said she “grew up with Eliza Steele. She informed my decision to become a nurse many years ago. Eliza would be so proud of our nurses, who, following pandemic safety protocols, have continuously provided essential in-home nursing services to area elderly and medically vulnerable residents. This staff truly inspires us, as does this community’s long-standing support of district nursing.”

District nursing, once a ubiquitous concept with nurses in most every region in the state, today is simply unfamiliar to many. Rockland is one of only a handful of communities to still have this asset, a local organization who has proudly served for over 90 years. Eliza Steele led RDNA from 1929 to 1968, building the agency in partnership with the City of Rockland and other civic leaders.

For more information about the Eliza Steele Memorial Garden and RDNA, visit rocklanddistrictnursing.org. This community garden is overseen and maintained by volunteers, and supported solely through community donations with RDNA as the fiscal agent.

Garden design is by Jason White, Plants Unlimited.